The Westminster (Colo.) Police Department has chosen to install Sierra Wireless InMotion Solutions oMG Mobile Gateway (oMG) in all its vehicles, which enables wired and wireless connectivity for tablets and laptops, providing officers with access to all their applications. The gateways also provide the police department with the flexibility to add new devices and applications to the vehicle that will improve safety and productivity of officers like electronic ticketing and video surveillance. With over 192 officers and 60 patrol cars, the City's police department uses in-vehicle computers to dispatch officers as calls for assistance come in, and to connect officers with databases and records they frequently access on calls.
In the past, the department used laptops equipped with USB radios or WiFi hotspots, but found consumer-grade devices were simply not reliable enough for its needs, and without a remote management solution, troubleshooting the devices would mean dispatching an IT support person or taking the vehicle off the street for repairs. The oMG, with roof-mounted antennas, provides officers with more reliable connectivity, and the oMM management system included with the gateways allows the IT manager to examine a vehicle's communications system remotely and troubleshoot a device problem over the air.
"Our officers are completely reliant on critical time-sensitive information. Without public safety-grade connections, officers are ill-prepared to handle calls in the best way," said Nelson Martinez, Technical Services Coordinator for the Westminster Police Department. "We don't want officers to be IT people by trying to troubleshoot connectivity problems themselves." The police department decided on the Sierra Wireless solution based on a referral from the City's Fire/EMS department and Denver Regional Transportation District.
The oMG adjusts as the network environment changes, automatically sensing and selecting networks as it moves for more reliable connectivity. Feedback from officers has been extremely positive. The SWAT trailer has been outfitted with the technology as well, supporting connections for all kinds of devices – from tablets, to laptops and printers.
The oMG mobile gateway is also a future-proof investment, as it is FirstNet Band Class 14-ready in advance of expected rollouts. Adams County is one of seven areas with Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grants to begin early-deployments of the nationwide FirstNet network. The Westminster Police Department has already been asked by Adams County to assist with testing.
"First responders need reliable, uninterrupted connectivity – even a few seconds downtime can make a critical difference in an emergency," said Scott Davis, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Enterprise Solutions for Sierra Wireless. "InMotion Solutions' multi-network oMG gateway is designed to ensure that information flows uninterrupted and communication lines stay open with the people on our front lines, whether using commercial mobile networks or the FirstNet network as it begins to roll out nationwide."